Medical examination and statistics.
For the proper instruction of surgeons of boards of enrollment, and establishment of a uniform understanding of the prescribed medical regulations, it became necessary to organize a branch to which all medical questions should be referred. For this purpose the medical branch of this Bureau was organized January 11, 1864.
Forms for medical record books of the examination of recruits, substitutes, drafted and enrolled men, were at once prepared and forwarded to the surgeons of the several boards of enrollment, with circular letters containing full information as to the appropriate construction of the several sections of paragraph 85 of the Revised Regulations of the Bureau, which defines the diseases and infirmities that disqualify men for military service.
Medical officers were detailed as inspectors of boards of enrollment and instructed in reference to their duties. During the operations of the draft these officers made frequent tours of inspection and contributed largely to the establishment of a uniform system of medical examination.
Monthly medical reports, containing the date of examination, name, age, occupation, residence, nativity, height, color of eyes, hair, and complexion, chest measurement, married or single, white or colored, physique, and results of examination, were required from surgeons of boards of enrollment, and examined and tabulated by the medical branch of the Bureau.
By means of these records a complete history of the medical examination of 1,014,776 men has been preserved. It afforded the means of examining into complaier action in holding to service or enlisting men physically unfit, with an intelligent understanding of the facts in the case, and insured a radical discovery and exposure of attempts at fraudulent enlistment.
The medical statistics which the Bureau has thus been able to collect, a portion of which accompanies this reports, a are greater in extd to contain in a minute and available form more valuable information, than this or perhaps any other country has hitherto possessed.
The Veteran Reserve Corps.
As heretofore stated, the laws for enrolling and drafting the national forces and arresting deserters, under which this Bureau was instituted, were adopted solely from the necessity of strengthening the armies in the field to an extent sufficient to insure success against the enemy. To realize this purpose in the fullest measure it was desirable to avoid any weakening of the force then in the field by employing a portion of it in enforcing these laws. The first steps toward
a See Appendix, Doc.8.*
* Here omitted; but see Executive Document No. 1, House of Representatives, Thirty-ninth Congress, first session, Vol. IV, pp.258-699. Attention is also directed to a later official compilation, entitled 'Statistics, Medical and Anthropological, of the Provost-Marshal-General's Bureau," by Colonel J. H. Baxter, chief medical purveyor, U. S. Army, and published by authority of Congress in 1875.